Sunday, September 5, 2010

book review: Love & War

We must love one another or die.

I am not typically a fan of marriage books. I've read a few and more often than not have never made it to the end of any of them. So when my friend Judy (my read-through-the-Bible buddy) told me how the authors John & Stasi Eldredge offered to give away their most recent book on marriage to anyone who was willing to blog about it and write a review on Amazon, i swallowed that bad taste in my mouth and signed up. 

Within weeks we had both received the book:

Love & War: Finding the Marriage You've Dreamed Of

Even the title kind of rubbed me the wrong way. But I opened the front cover and started to read.

They had a very casual tone about them. Lots of stories from their marriage and the marriages of their friends but a theme began to emerge. Marriage is hard. But it's worth fighting for.

Love is worth fighting for.

To be honest, it was a difficult book to get through. But because of this "agreement" to blog about it for a free copy, i felt compelled to finish it.

I finished it last Thursday morning, while sitting in Pheonix Coffee, waiting for my weekly coffee date with Judy. I got there a half hour early, knowing i only had one chapter left. i was ready to be done. So as i sipped my small portion of alotted caffeine for the day, and read these words by Ruth Bell Graham: 

A happy marriage is the union of two forgivers.

I stopped. I thought about how true that statement was, and how bad we are (i am) at it most of the time.

Since becoming pregnant i have thought a lot about the fact that marriage only gets harder with the addition of children. It, of course, is not a deal-breaker, but the antie goes up and the stakes get that much higher.

And as excited as i am to enter into this new stage of our marriage, i know it will be a whole new level of "Love & War."

So, now, in the next six-ish months of preparation for parenthood, i have entered a time where our marriage has become my priority. Because, as one friend so graciously reminded me, i will never be less busy than i am right now, and the habits i want in motherhood, especially in early motherhood, are the habits i must form right now, before becoming a parent.

so i am committed to putting my husband first, loving him even when he is unloveable (which is seldom) and when i don't feel like loving (which is much more often) and forgiving him without exception.

If a happy marriage is the union of two forgivers, then i want to make sure that i hold up my end of the deal.

Auden said, We must love one another or die, and i believe that. Maybe not physically, but spiritually, mentally and emotionally we will shrivel up and stop being, when we stop loving. 

i want my children to grow up knowing that their mom loves their dad more than herself. i'm not there yet, but it's my goal.

I've got six months -- and if this book has done anything for me, it has opened up my eyes wider to my need of grace in order to love.

C.S. Lewis wrote:

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.


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